National Geographic : 1971 Jan
my shoulder, then, hearing a child singing a favorite tune, she joined her. The disem bodied voice was, after all, only a minor miracle fo. one who lives in the shadow of the powerful Njai Loro Kidul. "Our goddess can fix anything," said the boy with the horsecart as we drove back through the seaside paddy fields. "Are there such goddesses in Djakarta?" he asked. Kumar admitted sadly that there were not. Few Men Left in Sambasari Our second kampong was well inland. Its name was Sambasari, and its distinction was poverty suffered with grace. The village lurah walked with us, not just among the tile-and bamboo houses, but in and out of them. Wher ever we stopped, we were invited to enter and rest. Mats divided the interiors into two or three rooms. Low platforms served as beds and as drying places for paddy and corn. "People here have not much land," said the lurah. "But no one starves." Said a middle-aged woman, "I grow no paddy. My husband died, and we had to sell our field because we could not work it." Kumar cut in in English, speaking unobtru sively. "There are few men in the kampong. In this region the Communists won many sympathizers. After the coup they were mur dered. I will show you a river near here that ran red in those days. More than 5,000 bodies were thrown in it." The woman continued, "I have a store here, see? It is not so much." Nor was it. On a single shelf rested one egg, two packages of noodles, four or five potatoes, a few vegetables. She had walked a long way to buy these things, and would make a few rupiahs if she could sell them all. In another house an aging lady sat on the floor making lamp wicks out of cotton waste. Near her an emaciated boy squatted against Hindu splendor rises from the jungle near Prambanan. Erected in honor of the deities Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu at the peak of Hinduism's 1,200-year primacy on Java, the tenth-century temple towers 154 feet. Its buildings contain features of other cultures-stupas, the bell-shaped shrines of Buddhism, and vaults that appear to be early Javanese royal tombs. Today, most islanders are Moslems, ad hering to a distinctive type of Islam that in corporates many elements of other religions. KODACHROME © N.G.S.